Tampa Bay Buccaneers regular season coverage is about to kickoff, but before it does, let’s take a look back at the tail end of July through August in superlative fashion.
BRIGHTEST STAR: QB, JAMEIS WINSTON
We don’t get to see the star players too much during the preseason as team’s hope to stay as possible before hitting the regular season schedule.
As a result, we only saw quarterback Jameis Winston attempt 29 passes, completing 16 of them for 152-yards and one touchdown.
There isn’t always a lot to build confidence on when dealing with starters coming out of August, but if there’s one thing Buccaneers fans can call successful is the fact Winston threw zero interceptions.
In game three of the preseason, Winston was under pressure and under fire for most of the first half before sitting for the second half against the Cleveland Browns. Despite this fact, Winston was able to remain composed and didn’t fall victim to his own desire to win on every play.
It’s a small sample size, but it’s all we’ve got for 2019 up to this point. If it transfers positively to the regular season, then the team should have a quarterback under center making smarter decisions giving his squad better chances to win.
FIRST-TEAM PROBLEMS: G, ALEX CAPPA
Starting right guard, Alex Cappa has all the potential in the world and hasn’t even come close to hitting what his ceiling could be. And none of this is good news for the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
When Bruce Arians was hired this January he made it clear this wasn’t a rebuild. Arians was taking over a team he expected to win right away, which means the learning curve for guys like Cappa is a steep one.
For the majority of the preseason and training camp, Cappa avoided the spotlight in a ‘no news is good news’ sort of scenario.
He caught the attention of everyone in attendance when the Cleveland Browns came to town however, and the spotlight will be brightly centered on the 24-year old as the San Francisco 49ers come in for a visit as well.
Offensive line is not the place an NFL team wants to have concerns but here we are. Now we’ll see if Cappa can grow fast enough, or if the team can come up with a different plan to help when facing NFL defenses who will surely be looking to target the second-year guard.
BIGGEST SURPRISE (POSITIVE): TE, TANNER HUDSON
Training camp and preseason is all about getting team’s ready for regular season action, and finding the diamonds in the rough who otherwise get buried behind big names and solidified starters.
Players looking to make a name for themselves have to take advantage of every opportunity, much like Tanner Hudson did this August.
Following the paths of guys like Adam Humphries and fellow tight end Cameron Brate, Hudson is the latest undrafted Buccaneers player to grab the hearts and minds of fans while convincing his coaches he needed to be on the 53-man roster.
Not only was Hudson the NFL’s top tight end during the preseason, his 19 catches for 245-yards and three touchdowns made him *arguably the most productive pass catcher in the entire league during these past four weeks.
*New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers had one more reception and eight-yards more than Hudson, but Hudson had more touchdowns and two more receptions of 20+ yards.
He has a clear bond with back-up quarterback Ryan Griffin who also moves on to the 53-man roster to start the regular season.
While Hudson’s contributions will largely come on special teams to start the year, he’s proven to be an NFL caliber receiving tight end.
BIGGEST SURPRISE (NEGATIVE): OLB, NOAH SPENCE
Noah Spence came to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers via the use of a second-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Now he’s a free-agent looking for yet another chance to get his football career on track.
Spence was once a highly hyped member of the Ohio State Buckeyes defense before being dismissed and banned from the Big Ten for off-field issues. He re-emerged out of Eastern Kentucky at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama and flashed NFL caliber talent as an EDGE defender.
In his rookie season, Spence played well notching 5.5 sacks and 22 tackles appearing in all sixteen games that year. Injuries, scheme misuse and weight fluctuation likely all played a part in his subsequent decline, but it all came to a head this past weekend when Spence was waived.
Spence showed some ability during the preseason, but never seemed to get on solid footing with the coaching staff. Strong performances by other members of the defense, including fellow outside linebacker Devante Bond, likely helped decision makers feel comfortable moving on from the former second-round pick.
There’s no doubt Spence still has good physical abilities, and it would be surprising if he didn’t eventually land with an NFL franchise looking for a pass rushing specialist to develop in their own defense.
Wherever he ends up however, Spence is now firmly entrenched as one of the more disappointing draft picks in recent Buccaneers memory.
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: K, MATT GAY
Which preseason standout is most likely to impact how the 2019 NFL season turns out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Easy. It’s kicker, Matt Gay.
The Bucs had a strong camp and preseason from both Gay and Cairo Santos, and seem to have finally found a solid option to kick their field goals and extra points.
Gay finished the preseason making five of his six field goal tries with his longest made kick coming from 55-yards out. In addition to this, he made all three of his extra points, which had become a bit of a concern for fans of the team after learning he’d missed multiple extra point tries at one point during training camp.
Kickers tend to be the leading scorers on their team, so having one everyone is confident in, is a nice change of pace from recent years for this franchise.
This year’s training camp and preseason was a very productive one with plenty of storylines and much to see from the new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As we move into regular season coverage, we want to know which other storyline was your favorite from the preseason?
Which additional storyline was your favorite from Tampa Bay’s 2019 preseason?
This poll is closed
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